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  1. ITV Report

Over a third of BAME employees told to adopt English name at work

More than a third of employees from an ethnic minority background in the Midlands have been told to change their name at work, to something more English.

New research shows many BAME workers have been ordered to 'adopt a western work name' by their boss at least once in their career - 32% in the East Midlands and 35% in the West Midlands.

Credit: ITV Central

Names weren't the only thing sacrificed, two in five BAME workers in the Midlands saying they changed one or more elements of their identity to fit in at work.

This included changing their appearance (41%), what they ate (25%) and adhering to other religious or cultural practices to fit in (23%).

38%
in the East Midlands have changed part of their identity for work.
36%
in the West Midlands have changed part of their identity for work.

The law says treating someone differently or less favourably than other staff, based on their race, is direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

The research, commissioned by Slater and Gordon, found the majority of those BAME workers felt their career would suffer if they did not westernise their name.

It is shocking that in 2019 employees are still being explicitly or implicitly pressurised by managers to change their names.

"Although many were not asked outright by their boss to change their name to more western sounding names, many said they felt pressurised into doing so to make it easier for their colleagues as they had difficultly pronouncing their real name.

"This research highlights that significant progress is needed with respect to inclusion in the workplace. Employers need to be aware that this behaviour is unacceptable, potentially discriminatory and therefore unlawful."

– Slater and Gordon employment lawyer, Ruby Dinsmore